Moving to York two years ago I was so excited to explore. There’s so many great places it makes shopping ethically easy! In a time where more students are wanting to switch to ethical alternatives, I want to highlight my favourite ways to shop ethically in York, both on and off campus.
Shopping ethically in York for…
Starting on campus, there are so many initiatives that promote and encourage ethical shopping.
The Swap Don’t Shop Society hosts regular clothes swaps. This is to help address fast fashion on a campus-wide scale and aim to reduce the stigma around shopping second-hand. I am hoping to attend their events soon, once I bring my unworn clothes up from home.
James College also promote and encourage student-owned businesses (including my own small business). This year they have also continued their Anti-amazon campaign on Instagram. This encourages shopping ethically by providing shopping tips and featuring student-owned alternatives for shopping.
YUSU (our Students’ Union) also invited students & locals with small businesses to sell products at their Christmas Market on campus this year! It is really nice to see the efforts done by university-affiliated groups in encouraging ethical shopping.
York also has a great range of charity shops, particularly on Goodramgate. My favourites are the Oxfam and British Heart Foundation. The Shambles Market is home to lots of independent sellers and I have found there is great community involvement on OLIO in York!
So whatever you’re looking for, on campus or in the city, there are many ways to shop ethically!
If you’re looking to grab a hot drink on campus the YORCUP Scheme is great! It’s an initiative set up to save students money and reduce takeaway cup waste. You can return your dirty cup to any participating campus café and keep the green sleeve to be given a clean cup during your next purchase. By doing this you avoid the latte levy! I find this really convenient when cycling home from campus as I don’t have to worry about my cup leaking in my bag!
Moving off-campus, one of my favourite features of York (aside from the geese) is the amount of independent cafes to be discovered. Most people I know have their favourite and go-to café, mine is Cosy Time. It has the perfect vibe for studying or relaxing, and usually has a good range of vegan bakes! I also love Fossgate Social, Plush and the new Lunar Cafe. All of these serve good quality brews and have really good vibes. I would definitely recommend venturing out and finding your favourites!!
The money raised from the latte levy scheme that I mentioned above is allocated to local initiatives, such as Scoop. Scoop is a student-led, voluntary cooperative based in Wentworth College. They sell a range of ethically sourced and affordable food, much of which can be scooped into your own containers to reduce packaging-waste.
Despite my love for cooking, I do also rely on takeout when I’ve had a particularly long day in uni. In first year it was difficult to stay positive about my ethical choices. The easiest comfort food to eat was spaghetti hoops on toast (still a banging meal though). But now there are so many choices! I love the new Chinese takeout, Wawin, which is a 15-20 minute walk from central campus, and offers a fully vegan menu!
If you’re looking to sit and catch up with friends you should check out Double-Dutch. They do the best savoury and sweet pancakes! Double-Dutch is an independent, family-run pancake house, with great vegan options too!
I couldn’t write about eating ethically in York without also mentioning Spark. Located opposite the 66 bus stop, Spark is one of my favourite places to eat and catch up with friends. It is a social enterprise housing a range of independent traders, including brewers, plant-based burrito bars and a selfcare studio! They also host ongoing events such as vintage sales and community events for budding creatives.
There’s so many options in York! I really struggled to condense the amount of recommendations I had for shopping ethically so I encourage you to explore for yourself. I’m still finding new places all the time!
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